Tshimanga playing role well as Dayton’s top rebounder

Redshirt senior center ranks among nation’s top defensive rebounders

Dayton Flyers redshirt senior Jordy Tshimanga doesn’t shoot many 3-pointers. He has taken four in his career — all this year. One hit the backboard and bounced straight to Mustapha Amzil, who then scored an easy basket. It was an assist of sorts.

When or if Tshimanga does make his first career 3-pointer, it will be a proud moment, he said. The 6-foot-11 center will become the tallest Flyer to make a 3-pointer since 7-0 Wes Coffee, who made 4 of 15 in his final two seasons (1990-92).

ExploreDUQUESNE GAME: Broadcast moved to ESPN2

“I’ve been working on it,” Tshimanga said. “I shoot 3s in practice sometimes. I know if I get in the game and there’s an opportunity to take a shot and I feel I can make it, I’m going to shoot it. I don’t shoot to miss. Every time I shoot the ball it’s because I feel I can make it, and I always shoot the ball within the format of our offense.”

Of course, Tshimanga also knows his role. He’s not going to start taking multiple 3-pointers a game. He focuses on defense and rebounding and providing the occasional spark on offense, averaging 6.6 points per game. He has played that role well in recent games.

Tshimanga had one point and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes in a 76-71 victory at Saint Louis last week. He picked up his fourth foul with 11:16 to play and fouled out in the final minute. On Saturday, in a 67-56 victory against Rhode Island at UD Arena, he had 11 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes.

Tshimanga leads Dayton with 8.0 rebounds per game. He averages 23 minutes. Last season, he averaged 2.4 rebounds and 3.0 points in 9.8 minutes per game.

Tshimanga ranks 12th in the country in defensive rebounding percentage (30.0), according to KenPom.com. That number comes from a formula that includes the percentage of minutes a player sees plus his team’s defensive rebounds and the opponent’s offensive rebounds. Tshimanga ranks 77th in offensive rebounding percentage (12.4).

Explore» UD FEATURE: Ball movement good sign for Flyers

“It’s been much needed,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said of Tshimanga’s play. “He’s definitely more than capable of sustaining that. Jordy’s a guy that is willing to do whatever’s asked of him to try to help the team be successful. Having a guy that can go in there to rebound the ball at a consistent level, that’s certainly helpful. We need that to continue. Everyone has to play a role.”

Rebounding is about grit, Tshimanga said, and a desire to go get the ball.

“It’s always been a pride thing,” he said. “I know it’s an important thing in basketball. The more rebounds you get, the more chances you’ve got to win and get shots up. That’s what I try to do.”

For most of the season, rebounding has been a weakness for Dayton. It ranks ninth in the A-10 in rebounding margin (minus 0.2 per game). Counting only A-10 games, Dayton is slightly better. It ranks seventh (plus 3.6 per game).

Explore» JABLONSKI: A lifetime of travel memories in seven seasons

After losing the rebounding battle 44-32 in a 66-43 loss at Virginia Commonwealth, Dayton out-rebounded Saint Louis 32-30 and then tied Rhode Island 35-35.

“Rebounding is a mentality,” Tshimanga said Saturday after the victory against Rhode Island. “You’ve just got to go out there and get the ball and be physical. That was in the game plan. We knew they were going to be physical. We just had to go out and fight, which we did.”

This is Tshimanga’s second season with Dayton. He played his first two seasons at Nebraska before sitting out the 2018-19 season at UD.

Tshimanga comes from a basketball family. His sister Florence Tshimanga, a 6-3 center, is a senior at Southern Methodist, which cancelled the remainder of its season in December after an 0-6 start. His brother Emmanuel Tshimanga is a 7-0 redshirt freshman at UC Irvine. He’s averaging 3.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 11.3 minutes per game.

Although this is Tshimanga’s fifth season, he could return next season because the NCAA announced in the fall it wouldn’t count this season against anyone’s eligibility. Returning seniors won’t count against a team’s scholarship limit in the 2021-22 season. The idea has not been discussed by Dayton’s four seniors.

“We’re just so focused on this season and trying to finish as strong as we can,” Tshimanga said. “When it gets to that point, I guess we’ll figure it out. Up until now, nothing’s been spoken about that.”

About the Author